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Industry Vocabulary

Telecommunications Speaks In Its Own Language

Don't let all of the abbreviations and insider jargon confuse you! Here's a quick reference guide to some of the most popular telecommunications industry lingo.

Aerial - cable placed above ground on utility poles, typically lashed to a galvanized steel messenger wire; Dura-Line also manufactures a self-support aerial duct which allows the installer to skip the step of lashing

Air Jetting - a technique to install fiber optic cables in ducts using compressed air, an alternative to pulling cables which has higher friction and more force on the delicate strands of glass

Analog - signals that are translated into electrical pulses or varying amplitude and are continually changing, as opposed to being digitally encoded

Backbone – typically a fiber optic trunk line that interconnects various parts of the network, consists of multiple cables bundled together and usually has the ability to reroute traffic in case of failure

Bandwidth - the range of signal frequencies, or bit rate, within which a fiber optic component, link, or network will operate

Bend Radius – how far the conduit can bend without damaging it by kinking; HDPE is popular because of its great flexibility

Bit – a basic unit of information used in computing and digital communication

Broadband – faster connection to the internet than the traditional dial-up access; includes several high-speed transmission technologies such as Fiber Optics, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable Modem, Wireless, Satellite, and Broadband over Powerlines (BPL)

CIC – abbreviation for “Cable-In-Conduit,” Dura-Line does not manufacture the fiber optic cable, but can help customers skip the step of air jetting or pulling in cable by extruding the conduit around fiber optic cable

CO – abbreviation for “Central Office,” usually used in conjunction with network design

Conduit – a duct, channel, or pathway, “standard conduit” has been the industry choice, but technology is allowing for smaller fiber optic cables which allows for MicroDucts and Dura-Line is at the leading edge of the industry with products such as FuturePath

Connectors – products Dura-Line sells as an accessory that connects lengths of conduit

Construction Crew – people who use our products on a day-to-day basis, sometimes our customers have in-house crews and sometimes they subcontract services

DataCom – short for Data Communications, which is an umbrella term for the transfer of data or digital communications (wired, optical fibers, wireless) encompassing digital messages originating from a data source (computer or keyboard), analog signals (phone call), and video signals

Digital - signals encoded into discrete bits using binary format (zero or one) to represent two distinct amplitudes

Direct Buried – construction term for underground installations, typically trunk cables in most areas are installed 3-4 feet deep

Distribution Box – houses and protects the fiber splicing, splitting, and distribution

Distributor – company that sells our products on behalf of Dura-Line

End User – person/customer using the product

Engineer – designs the fiber optic network and oversees the installation of telecommunications equipment and facilities

Enterprise – network for a self-contained campus, like for a hospital, airport, big company, or college

EPON – short for “Ethernet Passive Optical Network,” uses Ethernet and dates back to 2004 allowing for 1 GBits/sec, but the increase in demand for bandwidth has led to the deployment of fiber optic networks

Fiber Optic Cable - may contain from only one to hundreds of fibers; thin strands of highly transparent glass (or plastic) that send signals from one location to another in the form of modulated light guided through hair-thin fibers; these signals can be analog or digital and voice, data or video information; fiber can transport more information longer distances in less time than any copper wire or wireless method

Fiber Optic Network – system of cables, hardware, and equipment used for communications by connecting various points via fiber optic cables (usually protected in conduit)

FOS – abbreviation for “Fiber Optic Sensing”

FTTx – Fiber to the “X” where “X” means anywhere (similar to FTTH = Fiber to the Home, or FTTP = Fiber to the Premise, but now fiber goes everywhere!)

FuturePath – “bundled ducts,”consists of multiple variations of MicroDuct in specific sizes bound together with an oversheath for ease of placement; allows room for today’s network and expansion for the future

Gigabit – one billion bits, usually used to measure data transfer speeds (high-speed broadband allows Gig service)

Gigabyte – one billion bytes, usually used to measure data storage

GPON – abbreviation for “Gigabit Passive Optical Network,” point-to-multi-point access mechanism using passive splitters in the fiber distribution network, enabling one single feeding fiber from the provider's central office to serve multiple small businesses and homes

Horizontal Directional Drilling - commonly called HDD or directional boring, uses a construction machine that has the benefit of minimal impact and can place conduit under sidewalks and roads without excavating the ground surface

HDPE – high density polyethylene, flexible, resistant to chemicals commonly found in soils and will not corrode

ID - Inside Diameter

Innerduct – smaller conduit used to subdivide large ducts for the placement of optical fiber cables in conduit systems

Internet – global computer system networks interconnected using standard protocols providing connection, information, and communication

ISO-9001 – Dura-Line is an ISO-9001 rated company achieving the certification of the international standards and specific requirements for a quality management system, demonstrating the ability to consistently provide products that meet customer and regulatory requirements

ISP – 1) abbreviation for “Internet Service Provider” which provides connection to the internet; 2) abbreviation for “Inside Plant,” all of the cabling and equipment installed in a telecommunications facility and the extending equipment, including a Main Distribution Frame (MDF) and Central Office (CO)

Messenger – the galvanized steel wire that supports aerial conduit from utility pole to utility pole

MDU – MDU is an acronym for “Multiple Dwelling Unit,” like an apartment complex or a building with condos

MicroCables – new generation of smaller fiber optic cables

MicroDuct – small conduit used to protect new smaller fiber optic cables called MicroCables; Dura-Line produces the most varieties sold from the most places around the world and is one of the reasons why Dura-Line is an industry leader

MicroTechnology – the use of MicroCables and MicroDucts to build a fiber optic network

MicroTrenching - process of cutting a narrow and shallow slot-cut trench to install small conduits within the edges of the sidewalk; a quick, low-impact deployment method that avoids damaging or disrupting existing infrastructure

OD - Outside Diameter

ODN – short for “Optical Distribution Network,” physical path for optical transmission of Passive Optical Network (PON) data between the Optical Line Terminal and the Optical Network Terminal

OLT – short for “Optical Line Terminal,” uses fiber optic cables, adaptors to connect with Optical Network Units and Optical Network Terminals to build an Optical Distribution Network

ONT – short for “Optical Network Terminal,” converts fiber-optic light signals to electric signals and is located at the end user to provide broadband voice, data, and video achieving the fiber drop into the user’s home

ONU – short for “Optical Network Unit,” is usually located at the curb and is a closure for a mechanical compartment that houses equipment

Optical Loss - the amount of optical power lost as light is transmitted through fiber, splices, couplers, etc.; expressed in decibels (dB)

Optimum Fill Ratio – best recommendations for how many fiber optic cables, or the size of the cables to maximize the capacity of each conduit

OSP – 1) abbreviation for “Online Service Provider” which provides services when you’re already connected to the internet through an Internet Service Provider; 2) abbreviation for “Outside Plant,” all of the physical cabling and supporting infrastructure equipment and hardware located between main distribution point and users (conduit, cabinets, tower or poles, repeaters)

Override – when a fiber optic cable is in place in a conduit and there is extra room to add another conduit (usually a MicroDuct) to create another pathway; the fastest and least expensive way to expand an existing network

ROW – abbreviation for “Right-of-Way” which is a type of public land easement reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services, including fiber optic networks and other utilities

SILICORE® – Dura-Line’s proprietary lubrication coextruded with the conduit products that aid in adding fiber to a conduit by reducing the friction; increases installation distances thereby decreasing time spent and usually results in savings

Splicing - a permanent joint between two fibers; a mechanical splice aligns fibers mechanically and a fusion splice is created by welding or fusing two fibers together

Telco – a telecommunications company

Telecom – the science and technology of the communication of messages over distance using electric, electronic, or electromagnetic impulses

Termination - the connection of fiber or wire to a device, such as a wall outlet or equipment, which allows for connecting the cable to other cables or devices

TL 9000 – Dura-Line is a TL 9000 rated manufacturer; in 1998 QuEST Forum (a group of service providers, suppliers, and liaisons dedicated to Telecom industry) developed the TL 9000 Quality Management System to meet the supply chain quality requirements of the worldwide telecommunications industry

Trenching – construction technique where typically a backhoe is used to dig a trench so the conduit can be placed underground, usually 3-4 feet deep